Historic school badly damaged in ferocious blaze
An historic secondary school for boys, which opened over 130 years ago, has been left badly damaged after a blaze.
Emergency services spent several hours battling the fire at the Patrician Academy in Fair Street, Mallow, Co Cork, which broke out shortly after 3.30am yesterday.
Five units of Cork city and county fire services attended the scene, with crews travelling from the city, Charleville, Kanturk and Mallow stations.
The main damage was to an extension to the school, which was built 20 years ago.
The extension consisted of three science laboratories with a tiered demonstration room, two drawing rooms, a building construction room, a geography laboratory with a weather satellite link and four classrooms.
Residents living close to the fire were evacuated from their homes. The school was unoccupied and nobody was injured in the blaze.
Gardaí have confirmed that they are not treating the incident as suspicious and the cause of the fire is under investigation.
There was some concern for residents in the area as ashes were falling and slates on the roof of the school were falling off. Local resident Michael Sullivan, who lives only 30 yards from the school, said it was a "horrifying scene".
"I saw two gardaí getting people up and out. Those people were in danger as they were close to the school.
"It was desperate to watch such a school go up in flames. It was frightening," he said.
Former county mayor Cllr John Paul O'Shea said it was a sad day for Mallow.
"The principal, Catherine Fitzpatrick, and her staff have worked extremely hard to bring the school to the educational level it is presently at, and I am sure the people of Mallow and surrounds will support the reconstruction of the school in the immediate future," he said.
"It has a long-standing educational link with the town," he added.
The older section of the school was not damaged in the blaze.
It is not known at this juncture if the school will partially reopen at the site in September, or whether it will have to find temporary accommodation for its staff and pupils.